It was June 2009, at the height of the expenses scandal, when Crunch MD Darren Fell was invited by parliament to pitch ideas for a new expense management system. After meeting with the Procurement Director at the Houses of Parliament, a simple idea was formulated to make MPs expenses more open, and cost-efficient.
The logic behind it was simple: use the innovative accounting software developed by Crunch to create a corruption-proof expenses system .
Each MP would have their own Limited Company, quickly setup by Crunch. They would be provided with a new Business Bank Account and all expenses and payments through it would automatically drop into the Crunch Accounting System. This would then allow their support staff to simply mark what each expense was – they could label them as: ‘travel’, ‘restaurant’, ‘phone’, ‘water-based bird shelter’ etc.
If an MP did charge for a duck house, they would quickly find themselves humbled as the secure Crunch system could send each MPs expenses to a government website for real-time public viewing.
In our proposal, each MP would be running under their own Limited Company, so when they submit their annual accounts, this information would be publicly available. The Limited Company would only be available for parliamentary duties and not constituency duties.
The current Expenses and Administration support team (EAT) in Parliament extended to a staggering 600 people to support 650 MPs. Crunch could drastically reduce this by handling a lot of the support, providing Accountants and the MPs own Account Manager on the end of the phone.
Crunch only charges £60 to setup a LTD company and the Crunch Accountancy service is only £64.50 per month. The MPs self assessment would be charged additionally however this would be incredibly cost effective at only £200 for a really complicated self assessment.
So, what has happened as a result of the proposal requested by Parliament? In short; not a lot…
A committee was setup, which, after a number of months presented a series of conclusions to be adopted in the expenses system.
Following this, another committee was setup and after a few months presented their conclusions. Almost all of the previous findings were ignored and the new conclusions have changed virtually nothing. Viva la Revolution!